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Oh Canada

Zach Harper —  January 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

We’re halfway through the 2014-15 NBA season and things haven’t gone exactly to plan. The Minnesota Timberwolves missed at least three starters for two months of the season and it’s helped them go from a promising start 4.5 games into the season to a 7-34 record at the halfway point. Granted, that record is mostly skewed because of the loss of Ricky Rubio (Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic’s absences hurt too), but you don’t get wins on a grading curve in the NBA.

Either you can win them or you can’t. And without Rubio, the Wolves’ defense has been a mess and the offense hasn’t been much better. However, there has been one constant beacon of hope on the horizon, showing the future seasons won’t be so bad.  Continue Reading…

To the sad internet troll that will eventually try to chime in:

Yes, Ricky Rubio is a bad shooter.

Yes, Ricky Rubio is a bad finisher around the basket.

Yes, the Minnesota Timberwolves haven’t made the playoffs in a decade.

Yes, the Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t going to make the playoffs this coming season.

Yes, the acquisition of the young players they have is currently more flash than substance.

Yes, the Minnesota Timberwolves have never made the Finals nor have they won a championship.

We’re still going to have fun watching this team and Rubio is a big part of that. It’s all passes, but that’s what he does and he does it about as well as anybody in the NBA. Excited to watch him make these passes to young guys running the floor, cutting to the basket, and bringing the spectacular on their dunks.

Opening night is 63 days away.

If you don’t know the Timbertrolls yet, you should get yourself acquainted. They’re the masters of fun Timberwolves memes on the internet and they make some of the best .gifs, videos, and photoshops about this team.

This is a great example of what they do. Follow them on Twitter at @timbertrolls.

Kevin Love got his own This Is SportsCenter commercial as the barista who makes the best double-double espressos.

Stan Verrett is pumped about it!

(Via Mark Remme at Timberwolves.com)

Rubio dips three times fool

I know Steve is going to have a great recap for you tomorrow/today, but I thought I’d throw up the video highlights of Ricky Rubio’s first career triple-double just because this stuff is fun to look at.

21 points (one off his career-high) on 9-of-17 shooting, 13 rebounds (career-high), and 12 assists. And most importantly, he did it in a big victory over the Spurs. It wasn’t big in the sense that it changed their season; it just legitimized the triple-double because it happened in a win over a good team (even if they were missing guys). Here are the highlights from the NBA’s YouTube channel.  Continue Reading…

RubioSmile

Over the next few days on A Wolf Among Wolves, I’ll be breaking down the play of Ricky Rubio since he’s returned from his ACL surgery last March. When Rubio came back on December 12th against the Dallas Mavericks, we all wondered how long it would take him to regain his form. In an attempt to figure out the turning point for Rubio and how we can track his change, I’ve decided to chart various parts of his game. In some areas, I’ve found improvement and in some areas, the numbers don’t bear out a lot of change. But what I have found — and something everybody has noticed — is a change in his game recently that reminds us of his incredible play as a rookie. Today, I’ll be breaking down Ricky Rubio as a scorer:

We’re starting to see results.

The box scores of Ricky Rubio the past few games have been nomadic, moving all over the place. His aggressiveness on the basketball court has been something that we didn’t see in his shortened rookie season. It’s a new style of play in which he’s looking for his own shot because he knows he has to get the defense to respect the chance that he might try to score. If this threat isn’t there, even in the back of the defense’s mind, then it’s a lot easier for them to sit in his passing lanes and ruin the effect he has on a basketball court.

His aggression isn’t something we saw right away. The flashy passing was there the night of the return against the Dallas Mavericks back in December; however, he rarely looked for his own shot in an attempt to keep the defense honest. This could have been due to a lack of confidence, a lack of conditioning in his body, or a lack of strength in the leg he worked so hard to bring back to a professional athletic environment. But regardless, there had to be a turning point with Rubio that finally brought about the spark we’ve seen through him.  Continue Reading…

The NBA’s YouTube page is releasing the top 10 plays of a bunch of All-Stars’ careers and Kevin Garnett was one of the first guys they did. I know it’s not totally cool to still love KG because he barks at people and he was mad at Glen Taylor and stuff, but he’s still probably my favorite NBA player of all time. I love watching him even to this day and have a great time seeing the highlights from his career with the Wolves.

Nine of these plays by KG involve the Wolves, one of the plays was in the title clinching game in 2008, and eight of them are in a Wolves uniform. Here are my quick thoughts of remembrance for each play:  Continue Reading…

Let’s break them down, kids.

  1. It’s pretty incredible how Ricky sets guys up with the simplest of passes. Derrick Williams has been pretty great about setting his feet over the past 15-20 games and really looks like a good spot-up shooter out there with Rubio. Rubio mentioned after the game that he’s looking to make the extra pass if it’s there, and if not then he’s looking to take the shot himself. Right now, the extra pass is the way to go.
  2. This play got me so excited for a healthy Rubio teaming up with Andrei Kirilenko. Rubio often can beat his man baseline, dribble through the paint and find a cutter. AK is so good at cutting from the weak side that it opens up a lot of possibilities. The great thing about this play is Kirilenko does a slight fake to the baseline before cutting more toward the hoop. I had a great angle of it from the other side and DeShawn Stevenson was looking toward the side, just searching for movement that way from Kirilenko. That slight fake to the baseline moved Stevenson out of the way and opened up an easy lane for Kirilenko to receive the ball. It’s just brilliant basketball.
  3. Ricky and Derrick have tried this spin-off-the-high-post lob play like four or five times this season and Ricky has come up short on every pass, which is odd. This time, he made up for it right away by stealing the pass and finding Barea for a wide-open 3-pointer.
  4. The Wolves were 1-for-2 on lobs to Stiemsma that he tries to bank in with a tap tonight.
  5. I don’t see why you’d ever trap Ricky off the pick-and-roll. It’s not like taking away his jumper is a key to stopping them. You leave someone open and he’ll find it. Or he’ll start the ball movement for a hockey assist.
  6. I can’t believe Rubio actually got an assist for this pass. D Dub takes two dribbles before finishing and wasn’t exactly on the move when he caught the ball. But it makes up for this thievery in New Orleans last season.
  7. Making the extra pass is fun, kids.
  8. Derrick Williams is going to get a lot of this pick-and-pop chances with Rubio. His feet are set so he’s going to knock it down.
  9. This last pass wasn’t an assist, but good lord it was fun. He tried it once, threw it off of John Jenkins’ thigh, chased down the ball, and threw basically the same pass again. Pek didn’t finish the play but he got to the free throw line.

AlexeyShvedPose

Alexey Shved notched the first double-double of his career with 12 points, 12 assists, and he even grabbed seven rebounds too. He shot well from 3-point range and turned the ball over just one time. I’d say it was the best game of his short career, considering the match-ups he had throughout the night and the solid defense he played one game after getting annihilated by Dwyane Wade.

@AndrewQ_ on Twitter sent along this highlight video of Shved’s plays from the victory over the Thunder Thursday night.

The pass at the 50-second mark was definitely my favorite play of his from last night.

How do we feel about his performance, fellas?